Maybe too many bulbs?

I was watching Gardeners World the other week and they had a bit on tulips featuring a wonderful garden which had a stunning display of  tulips.  I had read about Utling Wick before and how the owner plants around 9000 tulips each year – makes my display appear quite pathetic.

I was particular interested in the bit about planting tulips in pots and my imagination was caught by the large metal planters full of tulips.  I have an old tin bath that I have struggled over the years to successfully plant up.  This summer it has had lavender in but it has still not looked as wonderful as it did in my imagination.  Anyway having been inspired by the planters at Utling Wick I raided the bargain bucket at the local DIY store and bought 60 odd tulips in a range of colours: red, yellows, purples, pinks.  I also had a packet of unknown tulips that had come in a selection pack. Today the lavender were unceremoniously removed and the tulips planted  The owner  of Ulting Wick had commented that when you plant tulips  in pots  and containers you need to be generous and plant them much closer than you would in borders.  As you can see I took her instructions to heart!  Maybe too much.

There were two packets left over: Tulipa Angelique and Tulipa Purple Flag and these have been planted in a tall blue pot – also crammed in.  We shall  see what the results are like but at the end of the day it only cost be £8 so hardly any investment.  Fingers crossed it will look fabulous.

About Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited
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27 Responses to Maybe too many bulbs?

  1. Juli Hoffman says:

    Can’t wait to see what these look like in the spring! I love raiding the bargain bins for bulbs. You can get some fantastic deals at this time of year. :)

  2. Cathy says:

    Go for it, Helen – cost is the main thing that precludes most of us amateurs from having densely packed borders and pots, so it’s good to grab the opportunity when we can.

  3. I’d love to see how this turns out. I’s imagine as long as they are placed in a good spot that it will look fantastic!

  4. Christina says:

    I’m sure they will look fabulous. I think tulips in pots look even better than those in the ground, I’ve planted all the pots on the terrace with different varieties of white tulips. you could even add some violas on top to give you some colour during the winter and just discard them when the tulips begin. Something to really look forward to. Christina

    • patientgardener says:

      I have preferred tulips in the ground recently but I think that is because there is no where on my patio to really display the tulips well so I am hoping by going for a bigger pot the display will be good this year

  5. Gwen says:

    Just planted a square planter with tulips crammed in like yours. Make sure you protect them with chicken wire for a bit. My neighbour had all hers removed by a squirrel/mouse.😪

    • patientgardener says:

      We dont generally have mouse problems these days due to the cat – but will keep an eye out for squirrels

  6. outofmyshed says:

    I love tulips in pots and often plant a second layer, by adding a bit of soil on top of first layer and then nestling more bulbs in between the gaps of the first layer. Having crammed them in, I don’t expect them to last for another season, but I do get really rich displays in spring. Looking forward to seeing your gorgeous tin bath next year.

    • patientgardener says:

      Hi Naomi – if the display is good this year I will try your technique for planting two rows

  7. Claire says:

    I’ve read about doing this but then never feel brave enough to ignore the packet instructions to space them out when it comes to planting. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out. You can never have too many tulips in spring. I think they must be my favourite flower.

    • patientgardener says:

      Hi Claire – I think gardening is all about throwing away the rule book and going by your instincts. If it doesnt work it doesnt matter

  8. janegerow says:

    Love bulbs! Especially tulips!!

  9. janegerow says:

    Reblogged this on Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme and commented:
    Love bulbs!

  10. I just planted tulips in pots for the first time this fall. I probably squeezed mine in tighter than yours! Can’t remember where I read this, but I did see somewhere that’s the way to do it in containers. I would love to have one of those old tin baths!

    • patientgardener says:

      Hi Jason

      I found the tin bath at my local flea market, was very cheap. There are usually several available

  11. I don’t think its too many tulips in the container. Have you visited Claus Dalbys blog (a danish gardener), he’s famous for planting tulips in pots. You have a lovely and interesting blog! :-)

  12. thepatchworkgardener says:

    I think your tulips will look really fab in your galvanised bath. I have an old dolly tub that I currently use as a water butt by my greenhouse and keep umming and ahhing as to whether to use it as a planter. So far it’s come in very handy indeed as a water butt but I think I may eventually get another one to use as a planter.

    • patientgardener says:

      Mine started off as a water feature but it didnt work so I drilled some holes in the bottom and I am still trying to plant it up. I think it need to have big and bold planting

  13. Your little wash pan is going to have a sea of petals. Since you’re not worried about perpetuating the bulbs for the following seasons, I don’t think it matters about them being crowded together. You got a great deal on them and they’ll make a very colourful display.

  14. Your bulbs will be a fabulous splash of colour. I still have some bargain bulbs to plant too but mine are destined for the ground … unless I make a flea market find.

  15. Sandra Jonas says:

    That will look fabulous!

  16. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Never too many!!! Look forward to seeing them in flower! Always optimists! One boot load of pots taken by no 3 daughter to look after while we look for somewhere to live. So nerve wracking – was in big black hole last night from 1am till 4.30am!!! The house we thought we had (to rent) i ‘maybe’ and maybe this etc at moment!! I woke up with a huge bulldozer on my shoulders! Too tired to go to zumba! However when no 3 came and discussed possibilities and I had dead headed some rain and windblown roses gradually felt better. Had a pre-birthday Ladies Lunch as lovely Eden Gardens so feeling much better. I HATE SHIFTING especially when no say in matter and not our choice as daughter no 1 has sold and we stuffed up in late 80’s and now no money! Comes and bites you on the bum every now and then and feel helpless and hopeless. Told daughter no 3 when she sees me ‘not’ gardening then really on way out! Sorry for moan but you know what the ‘big black hole’ is!!!!

  17. Hi Helen,
    I am sure it will look fantastic. I stumbled across this video on the Sarah Raven site recently ‘How to make a bulb lasagne’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhWZD7S6FBM
    Not only does she plant as close as you have, but puts 2 layers of bulbs on top of the tulips. That is a real potful.

  18. Looking forward to the photos in the spring, I don’t think you can have too many bulbs. I have some apricot and black tulip bulbs waiting to be planted but they will go in pots for display reasons, I think they may have more of an effect.

  19. jackie says:

    Never too many tulips, surely! I buy mine wholesale which means I can really pack them in and it doesn’t cost a fortune.

  20. Pingback: Tulips | The Patient Gardener's Weblog

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